Maybe you spoon-feed your baby puree food, or you are a part of the growing baby-led weaning community which advocates giving children finger foods. Perhaps you do a little bit of both? Regardless, a common question when weaning your babies is “when should I introduce cutlery?”, and honestly there is no right or wrong answer. All babies develop at different stages, meaning one baby will be ready before another so try not to compare any two babies, always do what you feel your own baby is ready for. There a few simple steps you can take to help the transition from hands to cutlery, check them out here:
STEP ONE - START EARLY
Babies may not be able to use the cutlery just yet, but you can always just allow them to have hold of it. This is great for familiarising them with cutlery, they can have a little play and learn how to grab hold of it. The little dude below is co-founder Celeidh's son at 6 months ready to start his first foods. He spent most of the meal chewing on the spoon.
STEP TWO - START WITH SPOONS
They are easy for babies to grip and will transport some food to their mouths. Stick with an eco-friendly silicone tipped spoon as these are softest on little gums and lips. This stage could go on for months, and that’s fine. Let your little one practice aiming the spoon in their mouths and back down to the bowl again. If they start getting frustrated that they aren’t getting enough food, try taking turns with them, one spoon from you, one spoon from them. Or pre-loading the spoon with some food. Then at least you know they are also being fed!
STEP THREE - FAMILY MEALTIMES
For some of us this can be tricky one to do, as so many of us are juggling work and home life. But if you can all sit down at the dinner table together, then this helps our little ones to learn our behaviour and copy what we do. It’s incredible how much kids learn from watching and imitating us. Whatever happens though, there should always be an adult present when a child is learning to eat to reduce the risk of choking.
STEP FOUR - PROGRESS
Once you feel they are confident with a spoon, you can try introducing a fork to them. Stabbing is a whole new skill for them to start practicing! This can take a lot of patience from both baby and parent but stick with it and eventually they will get there. Try having some bigger chunks of food on their plates for them to have a better chance of getting it with the fork.
One important point to mention again here is to not get disheartened by your baby’s progress. Babies can be eating with cutlery like a pro one day and the next day back to using their hands, this is normal and you’re doing great! Keep up the consistency of offering them cutlery and eating together as much as you can and it will all fall into place when they are ready.
So, what's next? Enjoy this stage of your baby's development and take a peek at what we have available to make weaning even more exciting - here.